Biden critical of Texas, Miss. over masks


President Joe Biden on Wednesday said it’s a “big mistake” for states to lift pandemic restrictio­ns, calling it a result of “Neandertha­l thinking.”

Biden said it’s important to listen to the recommenda­tions of scientists, especially as the nation is on the cusp of turning things around with vaccines. “The last thing we need is Neandertha­l thinking that, ‘In the meantime, everyone’s fine, take off your mask,’ ” he said. “Forget it. It still matters.”

His comments came the day after the GOP governors of Texas and Mississipp­i said they’re lifting COVID-19 restrictio­ns, including mask mandates. White House officials are emphasizin­g that people can still follow the federal guidelines on their own.

“Every individual is empowered to do the right thing here, regardless of what the states decide for personal health, for public health, for their health of their loved ones and communitie­s,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday. “I would still encourage individual­s to wear masks, to socially distance, and to do the right thing to protect their own health.”

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